Many US swimmers, past and present, think of high school swimming as one of the most energetic and exciting parts of their swimming career. The sportsmanship, camaraderie, and enthusiasm surrounding a high school team can bring swimmers together in ways club swimming can’t. But Craig Harris, head swim coach for Lewisville High School in Texas, believes there is much more to high school swimming than that. High school swim programs help prepare swimmers for anything they might face in the future, whether it be state championships, college swimming or even career opportunities.
“The high school environment is a good opportunity for them to learn who they are as leaders and what type of teammate they might be,” says Harris. “It helps them sharpen those skills so hopefully they will be a better athlete, employee, boss or whatever they end up being.”
The Texas coach always puts his swimmers’ needs first. He works with each swimmer, identifying their goals and developing a plan that works best for each student. Training tools like the arena’s Powerfin Pro fins and Swim Snorkel Pro help Harris’ athletes hone in on their swimming skills and develop a stronger technique.
Harris says he likes the simplicity of the snorkel. It helps swimmers with their rotation and body positioning while in the water. With a snorkel, the swimmers are able to breathe at any time, allowing them to focus solely on body position without adding in the complexity of taking a breath. The team will use this tool to maintain their body alignment, an aspect Harris finds very important.
“We learned a long time ago, back with the super suits, how important that core structure is and holding that core,” Harris explains. “I think the snorkel was an evolution that helped us get to that same type of body position without those super suits.”
During a drill he calls “I to Y,” swimmers will push off the wall while wearing the snorkel, doing 8 to 10 dolphin kicks in a streamlined “I” position. Then the swimmer will very methodically move their arms into the catch “Y” position, before then recovering back to the “I” position. Swimmers will do this 4 to 5 times before reaching the end of the length.
In an effort to keep the legs moving, Harris has his swimmers use the Powerfin Pro fins. The short and stiff nature of the fin makes it ideal for IM training. Even with butterfly or breaststroke, swimmers will often continue to swim with the fins while using dolphin or flutter kicks as an alternative to breaststroke kick.
“We like that you got to keep moving with those fins. We feel like we get enough versatility that it’s just a better tool for us,” says the coach.
All high school coaches, Harris included, want their swimmers to succeed. While they are in the pool, Harris takes it upon himself to make sure his high schoolers are doing the best they can and are getting the most out of their equipment and technique. Once they leave the pool, the lessons they learn in the water stay with them.
To learn more about the Powerfin Pro, Swim Snorkel Pro and other arena products, visit arenawaterinstinct.com.